Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Martyr MA Picture

Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Martyr MA PictureGuest columnist: Meredith A. Martyr, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Class of 2019

What social identities do you currently identify as most central to you? I identify as Pansexual, Feminist, and Cisgender Woman.

Progressing through my PhD coursework, I have become increasingly aware of my various identities and their impact on one another. Appearing as a cisgender woman, I am often assumed to be heterosexual by my classmates, professors, and colleagues. Appearing cisgender carries both a constant awareness of the privilege this provides me, and a continual reminder of the assumption that others make regarding my sexual orientation.

On one particular day, I was sitting in a doctoral seminar class discussing feminism in counseling psychology. Many of my classmates spoke very highly of feminism ideology and the “great progress” that has been made by the second wave feminist movement of the 1960-70’s. Identifying as pansexual and a feminist, I felt that it was pertinent in that moment to bring up the social oppression and silencing that occurred within the lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual communities at the hands of the cisgender second wave feminist movement. My classmates were confused by my critiques of second wave feminist ideology, and at that moment I felt it was important to share my sexual orientation in order to explain the conflicting appreciation and caution I have for the feminist movement. As I opened my mouth to share my pansexual identity, I feared hearing common microaggressions such as, “I never would have thought you would be pansexual,” “You don’t look like you would be into women,” or “I am relying on you to bring the gay perspective to this discussion.” Despite this fear, I experienced the compassion and increased self-awareness that can come from hearing and/or sharing a personal narrative. As I shared my narrative of how uplifting and restricting feminism could be for a pansexual individual, I felt an energy shift in the room from confusion to insight as my historically marginalized perspective was heard and acknowledged. It is my hope that by continuing to share my narratives, others may continue to develop a greater awareness regarding the fluidity of sexuality and gender.

I am appreciative and humbled by the openness, authenticity, and respect that I have received during my graduate education. The foundation that my graduate program has laid down has provided a space of safety and trust. The best advice I can pass on to others who have various intersecting identities would be to investigate the department’s involvement with different social justice movements and their approaches to working with a diverse set of identities. Additionally, I would recommend sharing your narratives only when you are ready or wish to do so. I would not have shared my intersecting identities with my professors and colleagues if I did not feel respected and safe within the academic environment created by my graduate program. As I move forward in my graduate training program, I look forward to expanding my own self-awareness and experiencing new opportunities to engage in meaningful and impactful discussions regarding the complexity of intersecting identities.

This column is part of a monthly series highlighting the experiences of students and professionals with diverse intersecting identities and is sponsored by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Are you interested in sharing about your own navigation of intersecting identities in graduate school? We would be happy to hear from you! To learn more, please contact the chair of APAGS CSOGD (Julia Benjamin, jzbenjam@gmail.com) or CARED (James Garcia, jjg0136@gmail.com).

Bianca poindexter

Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Bianca poindexter

Bianca Poindexter

Guest columnist: Bianca Poindexter, Northeastern University, Class of 2015

What social identities do you currently identify as most central to you? I identify as Black, Queer, Cis-Woman, Able-Bodied, 24, and Christian

If you could go back in time, what advice related to your intersecting identities would you give to your former self upon applying for and entering graduate school? The advice that I would give my former self when applying for graduate schools would have been to think even bigger and go even further out of my comfort zone. I would have also said to search for programs that had more people with intersecting identities, including both the students and the professors; to expand my horizons. I would have explained to that young woman entering graduate school to not be so anxious, intimidated, and not feel so unworthy of where she was; that she deserved to be there, like everybody else, and to not be ashamed of who she is.

Describe an instance where you were “forced” to choose or represent one identity over another. How did you negotiate this instance? What did you learn from this experience? I was put in the position of representing the voice of the LGBTQ population on several occasions in the classroom. I was not “forced,” but I felt that if I did not speak to the reality of some of the issues that the LGBTQ population was facing, then no one would. I felt that many people in my cohort knew very little about that population or had blinders on to those issues. Some were not understanding of the fact that those issues affect not only myself and others in the class, but also a large population of people whose voices are finally being heard, or that such issues could affect people they know who are afraid to come forward. I felt that it was my duty and obligation to make sure they understood that the LGBTQ population has a face and a name. Not everyone but some of them definitely needed to be woken up to what the reality of the situation is.

How have you found support and spaces to talk about your intersecting identities as they relate to graduate school and your quality of life? Coming into this program at Northeastern University, I was already intimidated and felt like there would be no one to express my whole self with. I somehow lucked out to meet another woman in my cohort, Amanda Weber, who I could identify with. She and I built a friendship on like interests and we could discuss our identities, as well as school together and not feel judged. I found others in the program who turned out to be very accepting, as well as my academic advisor, Dr. Tracy Robinson-Wood. It was amazing and relieving to have a group of people to vent my frustrations and my struggles to. These people helped me get through the program and understood where I was coming from on different levels. I have two friends in the program who are Black, several who are women, and one who identifies on the LGBTQ spectrum. It was exactly the group that I needed to make the graduate experience less isolating, as well as my friends and my mother back home in Georgia who had great listening ears.

This column is part of a monthly series highlighting the experiences of students and professionals with diverse intersecting identities and is sponsored by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Are you interested in sharing about your own navigation of intersecting identities in graduate school? We would be happy to hear from you! To learn more, please contact the chair of APAGS CSOGD (Julia Benjamin, jzbenjam@gmail.com) or CARED (James Garcia, jjg0136@gmail.com).

What does the site you're applying to say about its LGBTQ training opportunities and affirmative environment? (Source: Kurious on Pixabay. Some rights reserved.)

Internship and Postdoc Sites Share LGBTQ Climate and Training Data

What does the site you're applying to say about its LGBTQ training opportunities and affirmative environment? (Source: Kurious on Pixabay. Some rights reserved.)

What does the site you’re applying to say about its LGBTQ training opportunities and affirmative environment? (Source: Kurious on Pixabay. Some rights reserved.)

Are you applying for internship?

Are you interested in finding out more about LGBTQ climate and training opportunities at internship and postdoctoral sites?

If so, check out our new resource created by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and Division 44’s Student Representatives! (Special thanks go to Julia Benjamin, Skyler Jackson, Elizabeth Ollen, and Eric Samuels for their leadership on this project, and to willing training directors for their time and insight.)

We conducted a survey on APPIC-registered internship and postdoctoral sites this summer with the intent of collecting information about how friendly these sites were for people of diverse sexual orientations and genders, and about LGBTQ-focused internship training opportunities that the site might offer.

We received responses from 120 internship sites, 22 postdoctoral sites, and 45 combined internship and postdoctoral sites, from a total of 36 states as well as Washington DC, and three Canadian provinces.

Feel free to explore and manipulate the Excel file here! (last updated 10-1-2015) 

  1. You’ll be prompted to download an Excel file after clicking the link above.
  2. Please note that the file has two sheets; the first is introductory and the second is raw survey data.
  3. Note: If you can’t open .xlsx files, you can first download the file and then use a free online site (like this one) to convert the file to other formats, such as .csv or .pdf.

Data points are organized into broad categories including information on general site information, health insurance, staff diversity trainings, expression of identity, LGBTQ training focus, LGBTQ climate for clients, and overall area and site LGBTQ-friendliness. Additionally, for ease of reading, colors have been used to signify specific answer types.

In finding a site that is right for you, we encourage you to consider all sites in their totality, across domains presented here and in combination with other factors available in the APPIC directory and materials made available by each site. Further, we ask that you refrain from making conclusions about sites that did not or could not complete our survey by its deadline.

APAGS CSOGD and Division 44 plan to periodically update this database to provide the most up-to-date information for internship applicants. We hope you find it to be a helpful resource!

Editor’s note: Other APAGS tools that might help intern and postdoc applicants include webisodes on the APPIC application process, a climate guide (PDF) in workbook format for evaluating sites independently on LGBTQ criteria, a new resource guide for LGBTQ students, and  much more.

 

APAGS-CSOGD Chair Julia Benjamin reacts to receiving "Proud and Prepared."

APAGS Releases a Brand New Guide for LGBT Graduate Students

“Proud and Prepared: A Guide for LGBT Students Navigating Graduate Training” was printed in limited release last month, and is now available to all members and affiliates of APA for free download!

APAGS-CSOGD Chair Julia Benjamin reacts to receiving "Proud and Prepared."

APAGS-CSOGD Chair Julia Benjamin reacts to receiving a copy of “Proud and Prepared,” which her committee worked on tirelessly for several months.

This exclusive resource guide was produced by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (CSOGD). Despite the popularity of the committee’s first edition — it had been downloaded and shared thousands of times — it was nine years old. The new guide places emphasis on more subgroups of the LGBT community and offers  broader discussion of this community’s modern training concerns. It also embeds dozens of in-depth quotes, pictures and candid perspectives from real students on a multitude of topics.

Authored by current graduate students from a diversity of backgrounds, training programs and viewpoints, “Proud and Prepared” aims to capture the energy and vitality of LGBT graduate students to the profession. Artistically, the guide was designed in-house by talented APA staff and showcases our dynamic content in a colorful 67-page package.

Go ahead and take a sneak peak

Check out some of Proud and Prepared’s awesome new sections:

  • Assessing Your Program’s Climate
  • Self-Disclosure in Graduate School
  • The Importance of Social Support
  • Mentorship and LGBT Students
  • Tips for Transgender or Gender Variant Students
  • Tips for Bisexual Graduate Students
  • LGBT Advocacy and Confronting Discrimination
  • Conducting LGBT Research
  • Resources for LGBT Students
  • APA’s Ethical Codes of Interest to LGBT Students

If you are looking for relevant information related to climate, mentorship, self-disclosure, research implications and much more, download the full guide (PDF, 3.3MB)  for further reading. Your APA Member login is required. If you are not a member, consider joining today.

Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Finding a Cultural Identity: An Intersectional Autobiography

Guest columnist: Christian Chan, George Washington University

Writing about my own personal lived experiences is a meaningful action to extract, understand, and interpret the complex experiences of culture across my journey as a graduate student. I entered a professional journey as a graduate student in a Master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and, later, a doctoral program in Counseling with a keen interest for developing more culturally competent interventions. What I realized most is the limitations of my own worldview, as I see through my own lived experiences and navigate my interpretation of privilege and oppression.

While I knew that multiculturalism and social justice were emphases of my journey and what I hope to contribute as an emerging scholar, leader, and educator, this interest evolved more than I had ever visualized at the beginning. I began my goal of starting a doctoral program with interests in multicultural counseling and supervision; ethnic identity development and socialization; intergenerational conflict; and acculturative stress. While those constructs still capture my interests and my view of multiculturalism, it was my own personal growth that grasped a largely missing component in the counseling profession’s research and practice. For far too long, I noted throughout my graduate training that there were still missing gaps in research and practice despite the major advances and emphasis to meet the needs of diverse populations.

My passion for intersectionality grew because I could no longer just view our treatment of clients within the limitations of cultural identities as distinct silos. What is the experience of a disabled lesbian Asian American cisgender woman? The intersections of these identities continue to grow in this discussion, but they are absolutely necessary if we are to grow as helping professions and enhance our paradigm of research. My own personal lived experiences rung through the curriculum. As a second-generation bisexual Asian American male of Filipino, Chinese, and Malaysian heritage, I also realized the intersections of my other identities as an able-bodied Catholic cisgender male who grew up in a middle-class family as the child of two immigrants. I sought for more questions and answers that moved beyond how privilege, oppression, and mental health are impacted by one identity.

Through these intersections, a pivotal moment in my doctoral program taught me so much about the negotiations of my own privilege and oppression. My initial driving force to enact multiculturalism and social justice into training, curriculum, and research was my own oppressed identities as an ethnic and sexual minority. However, my colleague confronted me about my perspectives of career development and social class. I stated that individuals could utilize their experiences from each position to hopefully move to another position. My assumption, however, is that not every individual has this choice, as they encounter several barriers in career development. I certainly have choices in my life due to my own social class, which prompted a negotiation of my own privileges. As I reflect upon those moments, I recognize that I must negotiate my privileges as lifelong learning with each step of my professional journey.

This column is part of a monthly series highlighting the experiences of students and professionals with diverse intersecting identities and is sponsored by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Are you interested in sharing about your own navigation of intersecting identities in graduate school? We would be happy to hear from you! To learn more, please contact the chair of APAGS CSOGD (Julia Benjamin, jzbenjam@gmail.com) or CARED (James Garcia, jjg0136@gmail.com).